If you need time off work but don’t want the stress and hassle of planning an itinerary, booking group tours, booking accommodation and seeking out quality places to eat at – look no further than a cruise ship holiday.
I recently went on my first cruise ship holliday and didn’t know what to expect – but was so glad I went!
The easiest cruises are 3 day ones and 7 day ones with P & O Cruises. Through word of mouth I was told that Princess Cruises are more for Seniors. Whereas P&O Cruises are aimed at a broad range: singles, couples, families, and seniors.
Booking your ticket
We booked directly on the P&O website and you’ll see they have a section called “Deals”. The price we paid was $699 each for a room with a queen bed and ocean view window and this included x3 (all you can eat) buffet meals a day for 7 nights. We booked this with only about 4 days notice so we were told that’s probably why it was so cheap.
Boarding the ship
It is like the equivalent of taking an international flight so all the same customs checks & processes apply such as not bringing food, bringing your passport, and being there at least 3hrs before the ship’s departure time.
Boarding at Hamilton Wharf, Brisbane.
Onboard the ship
The most overwhelming part is the initial safety drill practice where you will hear an alarm over the speaker and look at your room pass to tell you what “Muster” area you will need to gather at with the lifejacket from your room. You’ll feel like sardines crammed in the room but after 10 mins everyone leaves and goes to all different levels and pockets of the ship, so bear with it.
The initial safety drill in one of the "Muster" points.
The Ship – The Dawn Pacific
The ship itself is ginormous. You’ll feel like you are on board a floating Westfield shopping centre. There are 14 levels filled with shops, cocktail bars with live music, coffee lounges, buffets, pools and spas, a rock climbing wall, a zipline, a teenagers play area with air hockey and table tennis, quiz lounges, sun decks, a hair salon, a day spa, a gym, a virtual reality car driving game room, a theatre, a giant outdoor LED screen for night time movies with warm snuggly blankets and herbal teas and coffees from The Pantry.
The ship's gym was adequate and kept us feeling great.
The children-free deck with spas and lounges.
The 12th level of the ship where there are more spas, deck chairs, LED movie screen and bars
You can join in on a cocktail mixing class in one of the bars.
Cocktails up on deck.
The pool up on main deck.
Rock Climbing up on deck.
Lounging up on the back deck.
There are all types of internationa cuisines on board to choose from. Indian, Asian, Mexican, wraps, fruits, salads, yoghurts, cheese and crackers - you'll be spoilt for choice.
There was a variety of bands playing live music in a few of the different bars and lounges to suit all different tastes.
You can have Ocean View rooms or inner cabins rooms. We chose an ocean view room. It will get made up twice a day by the same staff person daily.
Ocean View room
The cruise staff have a bit of fun surprising you with a new "towel animal" every night.
Group Day Tours
You can do as little or as much as you want to do. You can pre-book tours the night before using terminals in the reception area. These cost extra. We chose to do jet boating and the jungle zipline in Vanuatu. But there are also much calmer rainforest walking tours. Or you can stay on board and read a book on the deck. There is absolutely no pressure to do anything that you don’t have the energy to do.
I loved the Vanuatu Jungle Canopy Zip Line
Sailing into Noumea.
Wifi & Connectivity
You can use the ships wifi at around $90 for the week on a platinum unlimited plan, but it is a little slower than normal - but adequate enough to keep on top of work emails and you're able to download ebooks on your phone or tablet if you also download the Kindle App
There are all sorts of ebooks and emagazines you can download via the Kindle App - so dont dispair if you forgot to bring a good book or some magazines.
You’ll need to pack:
- An up to date Passport
- Travacalm tablets for the first night sailing out from Australian waters and for the last night sailing back into Australian waters.
- A sports water bottle to keep hydrated
- Sun cream, Hat, sunglasses
- A power board if you have a few devices to charge as there is 1 power point in the room
- Hydrolyte tablets to keep hydrated between walks and Panadol
- Reef shoes
- Gym clothes & shoes
- Swimmers & comfy walking shoes
- Pack your tablet to download any eBooks. There didn’t seem to be a library on board.
- Mosquito Repellent
- Types of clothing mentioned on the P&O website if you want to participate in their themed nights such as Gatsby and White Party nights. It wasn’t our thing, so we watched outdoor movies instead.
Before the trip I booked a local Pet Sitter named Louella on PetCloud in Cannon Hill who messaged me with daily photo updates through the PetCloud website while I was away. Jolie is another fantastic Sitter located near the cruise terminal.
Would I do another cruise again? Definitely. I found this cruise to be very easy, and stress-free, and convenient with all meals provided. You can be as healthy or unhealthy as you choose, its up to you what you want to get out of your break away.
Don't forget to book a Pet Sitter at PetCloud well ahead of your trip!